Adam Lindemann has a long piece defending dealers, Alfred Taubman and the price paid for last year’s surprise Warhol “The Men in Her Life.” He also called the stumble in the Warhol market minutes before it began. His article was posted just after 7pm as Sotheby’s was rounding out the early lots and approaching Warhol’s 16 Jackies which would sell for $18m on the hammer, well below the $20m low estimate:
As much as I love Warhol, the blockbuster prices at the high end feel like they’re topping out. This season yet another large Warhol “Fright Wig” self-portrait comes up at auction, and once again it has been dubbed “the last in private hands.” This blazing red one from collectors Norah and Norman Stone of San Francisco carries a $40 million price (a purple one made $32.5 million last year). Also on offer is a blue Liz, estimated at over $20 million, and an assemblage of “16 Jackies” priced at $25 million. There is little oxygen in the upper reaches of this market, but eventually a picture will crash and the cycle will turn or slow down. Until that happens, the auction experts will continue to source the material and find the clients, season after season. But then again, maybe it won’t happen. Maybe, like Columbus, we’ll find that the world of demand for Warhol is bigger than we thought it was.
As Artinfo’s Judd Tully points out, the rest of the Warhols in the sale–even with the stand out performance of a very large camouflage painting and a red “shadow painting–failed to reach the low estimate:
Of the seven Warhols offered at Sotheby’s last night, six sold for just over $31 million, compared to an overall presale estimate of $32.4-46.5 million.